Monday, March 11, 2013

National Napping Day

Feeling particularly sluggish and drowsy today? It's a common phenomenon the day after we have to "spring forward" an hour for Daylight Saving Time. It takes some people several days to adjust their internal clocks to the new reality and, during that time, their attention and cognitive reflexes can suffer.

Really, though, at any time of the year, in our fast-paced, ever-changing, ever-challenging world, it's not uncommon to suffer from sleep deprivation. I have first-hand knowledge of that.

One way to deal with the problem is daytime naps. In 1999, a Boston University professor, William Anthony, Ph.D., and his wife, Camille Anthony, presidents of something called The Napping Company, began an annual observance of "National Napping Day" to showcase the many healthy benefits of napping.

It may sound frivolous. Many things which make eminently good sense often do. But, indeed, many studies over the years have shown the benefits of napping. Researchers have described it as a "mini vacation" for the brain.

Even a short nap of 20 minutes during the day can perk one up and provide a fresh perspective in dealing with the day's challenges. But, generally speaking, longer is better. If you can manage 40 minutes to an hour of napping during the day, the health benefits increase exponentially.

An article in The Huffington Post today lists six reasons to snooze on National Napping Day - or any day, for that matter:

  1. Napping boosts alertness.
  2. Napping improves learning and memory
  3. Napping improves creativity
  4. Napping boosts productivity.
  5. Napping lifts your spirits.
  6. Napping zaps stress.  
So, if you are feeling sluggish, having trouble remembering things, are unable to come up with solutions to problems and be productive in your job or personal life, if you are feeling sad and stressed out, maybe, like a cranky toddler, all you need is a nap. Mother knew best after all.

Even cats know the value of napping. (Actually, they probably invented it.) If you can do it with a friend, so much the better!

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